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University of Okara – An emerging Center of Innovation & Academic excellence

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By Sharjeel Ahmed

Vision of the Vice chancellor Prof Dr Zakria Zakar

“We at UO are focusing on establishing strong institutional foundations based on the internalization of high ethical values such as honesty, merit-based competition, critical inquiry and academic freedom. We emphasize on institutionalized inculcation of ethical values which are eventually embodied into the behavior patterns of students. We are striving to make the university a locus of academic power by introducing creativity through research and innovation through cross fertilization of ideas.”

University of Okara is a strong community of scholars and hub of scientists who are committed to their knowledge and scholarship. this university will eventually turn into such an institution which has the capacity to empower the civilization to face the challenges of present, immediate and distant future by carefully and artfully learning from the past; connecting the past with the present and creating a wonderful future.

Why to establish a new university?

Prof. Dr. Zakria Zakar (presidential pride of performance) says:

There are about 187 universities already existing in Pakistan. in the presence of such a handsome number, why to establish a new university such as Okara University?

If Okara university has to focus on textbook-based classroom teaching and routine laboratory based work to meet the curriculum requirements and then give a degree, it is merely a wastage of resources. From its very inception, Okara university aspires to go beyond the routine recycling and reproduction of knowledge through routine lecture based classroom teaching. this university strives to develop critical thinking and inquisitive capabilities of students to create new knowledge and provide solutions to chronic social, economic and ecological problems being faced by Pakistan.”

Time to celebrate the differences

Cultures differ and cultures collide but each culture contains piles of knowledge and the infinite cycle of learning demands you to keep digging into different cultures. The purpose of the global village is never fulfilled only if we are remotely connected through the sophisticated means of communication; it demands a thorough understanding of one another.

This emphatic approach is what we call multiculturalism or celebrating the differences. The Vice Chancellor of university of Okara prof. Dr. Zakria Zakar, with his vast and deep insights of cultural studies, has a real understanding of how to integrate and connect his students and faculty with international scientific and scholarly community. This is why he invited an erudite German Scholar Mr. Peter-Josef Boeck to his university.

Mr. Boeck, during his three-week visit to Okara university from mid of October to early November, delivered a number of lectures and held interactive sessions and seminars with the faculty and students of the UO. The basic purpose of this interaction was to initiate cross-cultural dialogues and provide the UO fellas an opportunity to learn the basics of the German language, history, culture and explore the possibilities of study scholarships in different German universities.

Mr. Boeck was the first foreigner to visit the university since its inception and the credit goes to Dr. Zakar who is keen on the capacity building and professional training of his faculty particularly and the students in general. at the end of the three-week program, certificates were also distributed among the participants. Mr. Boeck enjoyed his time at the campus and greatly appreciated the efforts of the VC towards the rapid development of the university.

UO gets School of Law

Sensing the needs and tendencies of the local students, the VC is introducing a full-fledged School of Law at university of Okara. This School will be offering high quality education in cheap prices. The advertisement for hiring of the highly qualified faculty has already been released and Dr. Zakar aims at bringing in the best and well-versed teachers so that the students hailing from the vicinities can avail an international standard law education at home. The School of Law will be offering 3-year and 5-year LLB and LLM programs. A handful of veteran law professors and practicing lawyers have been engaged to draft the best possible curriculum.

The real focus of this school will be to inculcate the values like rule of law, submission to law and to create a civilized society based on respect of human rights and human dignity. UO’s School of Law will be marked with a strong commitment to intellectualism and public service. The school will work on enhancing the intellectual life of its academic community by sponsoring a variety of centers, programs, and workshops.

Students’ Passion to Learn

Due to the advent of the adroit Vice Chancellor and his clear vision for the development of the university, a record number of students from the city of Okara and the nearby cities, towns and villages have submitted admission applications in various programs. The UO has received this sum of applications the first time in its history but despite this, the administration has shown no leniency and compromise on the merit.

These high standards of meritocracy and transparency in admissions have earned the veracity a great honor and helped fostering the culture of academic excellence that will go a long way to produce brilliant and visionary graduates in the years to come. Thousands of students have applied in 10 programs this year and all the enrollments have been made through a transparent and state-of-the-art process. With the start of the new session, the total number of the students in UO have soured to more than 5,000 and this is a remarkable achievement of the newly established university and its first permanent VC.

Decent Place to Learn and Thrive

Following the VC’s vision of providing lavish and state-of-the art academic facilities to the students, the UO administration is carrying out a large-scale renovation work at the campus. The entire academic block is being repainted, the labs are being equipped with hi-tech material, the classrooms are getting improvised furniture, the libraries are being furnished with best books of the world and entire campus is going through a horticulture makeover with novel plants, enchanting floral beds and lush lawns.

This all is being done despite all the budgetary limitations. Instead of availing their legitimate perks and privileges, the VC and all the other officers are spending the available resources on the improvisation of the university. This is indeed the beginning of a new Pakistan.

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